This series has felt like something straight out of my third grade notebooks- it is the kind of team-up every kid who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s would salivate over; Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, teaming up to fight the Foot clan and the evil Shredder. Add on to that some way-cray Dimension-X level new universe “fish out of water” element, and you have yourself a story that is as timeless as the characters within it’s pages.
This book has been reall fun, and I have said before that I thought the Turtles were a bit darker and Batman is a bit lighter than what we are used to seeing. Not that having these two characters meet a bit closer to the middle ground is a bad thing, mind you. This book really feels like a great entry point for anyone who isn’t reading Batman or Turtles or BOTH to really get a chance to dive into their stories and have a truly enjoyable standalone story.
I love that DC and IDW have been collaborating more as of late- the last team-up effort: Star Trek/Green Lantern: Spectrum War, was a valiant effort, but one that didn’t quite hit with it’s third act the way I had hoped. So, I am hopeful with this book that things go well for the last part of this book- but if this issue is any indication, it could well and truly go either way.
I loved the artwork of this book, and as I had said before- I enjoy that the Turtles are a bit darker than what I was expecting. I was not expecting to see blood when it comes to a TMNT fight, but it was a moment that really felt like the Turtles were getting darker and grittier in order to meet the level of the DARK Knight. I really liked the dialogue of this book, Splinter’s speech to Batman was one that really felt meaningful, and the splashy flashback panel really got me excited for (if/when) Krang, Rocksteady and Bebop show up in this book. Those characters had very distinct looks, more akin to the big screen counterparts than the ones I had seen most recently in the animated special “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Half Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past”.
The humor in the Turtles side of things is still very prevalent, and seeing Mikey in the Batcave riding on a T-Rex was a great bit of humor, plus it harkens back to the Turtles and Dinos (as my son calls it whenever he wants to watch Blast to the Past) that is most fresh in my mind. I enjoyed seeing Penguin in this book, but the first panel where we see Penguin alongside Shredder was one that really threw me off, visually. It looked like the Penguin was only like 2 ½ feet tall, beside Shredder who is most definitely like 6 ½ feet, maybe more. This just felt like an odd positioning for the characters, or maybe a bit of forced perspective that was not needed to show the marked difference between Penguin and Shredder- I think we can gather that Penguin is a shorty and Shredder is a professional wrestler covered in armor topped with knives.
I also think that my favorite moment of this story came at the very end- when **SPOILERS** we see R’as Al Ghul taking an impromptu meeting with Shredder. I like that it felt like R’as was enacting a strike against Batman, and Shredder got in the way, only to reveal his intentions in Gotham unintentionally, and to pique the interest R’as Al Ghul. I wonder if this means that Talia or any of the other rogue’s gallery of Batman’s baddies will make an appearance in this book, and I hope they do. I would love to see Riddler absolutely dumbfound Rocksteady and Bebop with the most rudimentary of riddles, or Bane and the mech-suited Krang to face off in a pseudo-sumo match.
This book looks nice, reads well, and is a nice change of pace for a limited series to have such a big sandbox to play in, and with little to no lasting effects on the characters in it’s pages- we all know that the Turtles and Batman will end up going right back to business as usual when this book ends, and that there will never be any mention of these exploits in their own books six months from now, if ever. While I am still unsure of what the future holds for Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I can be sure it will be full of action, and have lots of goofy humor, which is just what I wanted from this book, so on that score, it delivers in spades.